By Peter Schwartz
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Perhaps the FAN’s Joey Wahler said it best when we chatted after the game in the Coaches Club as we waited for Jets head coach Rex Ryan to begin his press conference.
“The Jets came dressed as the best team in the NFL, but the Packers stripped away their costumes,” said Wahler.
That was the line of the day as the Jets came through with a spooky performance on Halloween.
The best team in the NFL?
That title no longer belongs to the Jets after an embarrassing 9-0 loss to the Packers on Sunday.
This was a Packers defense that has been decimated by injuries and the closest that the Jets came to scoring was when Nick Folk missed a 37-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Mark Sanchez had some accuracy issues once again, but his two interceptions were a result of Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson stripping Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller after what seemed to be completed passes.
Ryan also had a tough afternoon. He challenged two plays in the first half but lost both of them. That prevented him from throwing the red flag on the Woodson interception and what was ruled a Cotchery drop with 3:13 left.
Santonio Holmes had two big drops including one on a third quarter Sanchez pass that, if caught, could have gone for a touchdown. He was brought to the Jets to be a big time receiver and he has to make those catches.
After the game, Holmes found out about a family emergency and didn’t speak to reporters. That, obviously, is his first priority and we all wish him the best.
Clearly, the Jets have to find a better way to deal with their post bye week hangover.
Last year, the Jets came out of the bye with an ugly loss to the Jaguars so this season, Ryan decided to change the off-week schedule. Ryan gave his guys almost the whole week off but that, obviously, didn’t work either.
I wrote in this blog a couple of weeks ago that these were not the “same old Jets because there has been a different feeling around this franchise over the last couple of years.
I’m not going to back down from that because I believe that there has been a change in culture, but Sunday’s game proved a few things.
First, the Jets, at the moment, are not as good as they are think they are, nor are they as good as the people who follow the team think they are.
Second, this so-called high-octane offense with so many weapons has been asleep at the wheel for a few weeks. It’s not all on the shoulders of Sanchez. Granted, he has been off his game, but some of these passes have to be caught by the receivers.
Third, the Jets need to get back to ground and pound. On Sunday, it seemed as if they lost confidence in their running game. They should have stuck with it against a Packers defense that hasn’t stopped the run all season.
But before the Gang Green faithful gets ready to panic, let’s remember that the Jets are still 5-2 and have a favorable schedule coming up. The talent in that locker room is reason enough to think that the Jets’ level of play will get better.
They had some luck in winning five straight games, but you can’t win games without good players and the Jets have plenty of them.
Ryan has done a great job over the last couple of seasons in getting his players to buy in to what he has been preaching. Perhaps he needs to rally his troops this week and get their minds right.
The Jets were fortunate to pull out the win over the Vikings and were even luckier to escape Denver with a victory. So, perhaps just like the opener against the Ravens, maybe Sunday’s embarrassing performance can be a wake-up call for a team that entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations.
Up next, the Jets travel to Detroit to face a Lions team that beat the Redskins 37-25 at Ford Field Sunday. The Jets are the better team, but if they don’t bring their “A” game, they can easily get picked off.
If Sunday’s game against the Packers was a Halloween party, the Jets certainly impersonated a bad football team.
They are better than that.
For a team that aspires to be sized for championship rings, their effort on Sunday was only worthy of costume jewelry.